[...] the TSA rubrics identify core technical skills measured across each program on a system-wide basis, according to Neill. According to a graduate follow-up study that surveyed 2008 WTCS graduates, 91 percent of the 13,104 respondents were employed.

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									             PREPARiNG THE NEW WORKFORCE

     Assessing students’ te
Skill AttAinm

              he Wisconsin Technical            within the 16 Wisconsin Technical Col-      will only use third-party, vendor-related
              College System (WTCS) is          leges, according to Annette Severson,       student assessments, such as exams. We
              working to comply with the        WTCS associate vice president, Office       think that relying solely on vendor exams
              Carl D. Perkins Career and        of Instruction. Those direct measures,      misses the mark because some programs
Technical Education Improvement Act of          which provide evidence that students have
2006 (Perkins) to ensure that its graduates     achieved intended outcomes or skills, may
have mastered the technical skills needed       include third-party exams, performances,
by business and industry. Perkins 2006          portfolios, rubrics, capstone projects,
legislation requires that each state identify   internship evaluations, and clinical
and approve program assessment strate-          evaluations, among others.
gies used by any Perkins-funded postsec-           “I think every state has a unique
ondary institution. Additionally, the Act       way of complying with Perkins,”
requires that those assessment strategies       Severson says. “Some states
measure the degree to which program
graduates have mastered industry-validat-
ed technical skills.
   As an eligible recipient of Perkins
funding, WTCS will comply with
the Act by using direct measures
of technical skill attainment
for program graduates

30   T e ch n iqu es   MAY 2010                                                                    
echnicAl                                                             the new TSAs ensure that program out-         also a plus, she maintains. “Collaboration

                                                                     comes derive directly from valid industry     is valuable because instructors from mul-
                                                                     standards. WTCS TSA program out-              tiple colleges share ideas, strengthen their
                                                                     comes, according to Severson, are derived     network and have the opportunity to cre-
                                                                     from and linked to valid industry and/        ate and apply new assessment strategies,”
                                                                     or academic standards; derived from and       she says. “Some of the colleges already
                                                                     linked to a current DACUM occupational        have program outcomes, so the TSA as-
                                                                     analysis; and/or reviewed by industry         sessment development process gives them
                                                                     representatives.                              another opportunity to examine and re-
                                                                                                                   fresh those outcomes with help from other
                                                                     Faculty Representatives Collaborate           instructors and advisory boards.”
                                                                     in TSA Rubric Development                         WTCS already has a great technical
                                                                     Already, several TSA assessments have         education track record, adds Severson.
                                                                     been developed for WTCS programs,             According to a grad
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